Archive for February, 2018

How Should Swimmers Be Paid?

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

 A previous Swimwatch post discussed how Swimming New Zealand could establish reserves from which to pay swimmers a respectable wage. Their current efforts at professionalism are derisory – and even that’s an exaggeration. So having accumulated a fund of $1,781,000, how should it be spent?

Here is what I would do.

I would pay swimmers for achievements in three categories:

  1. World Ranking
  2. Record Breaking
  3. National Open Championships

World Ranking

Swimmers should be paid a monthly salary according to where they are ranked in the world. Any swimmer ranked in the world’s top 200 should receive a payment. The table below shows the seven ranking categories and the amounts that should be paid to swimmers in each category.

It is a sad reflection on the current state of New Zealand swimming that our two best swimmers are ranked in the 11-25 category. No one is in the top ten. Oh, how we need the days of Hurring, Perrott, Simcic, Jeffs, Langrell, Mosse, Kingsman, Loader, Boyle, Snyders and Burmester back again.

The salary should be paid for the performance that earned each swimmer their highest world top 200 ranking. Every swimmer receiving a payment should be required to submit a monthly report that provides a record of:

  1. The distance swum each week in the month
  2. Any relevant time-trials or test sets swum in the month
  3. Any races swum in the month including the time splits and place
  4. Dry land training completed during the month
  5. Any prescription or counter drugs or food supplements taken during the month
  6. A short commentary on the month’s training and how it is progressing

The table below shows the payments that would be made today if this program was in place. The world rankings are based on 2017 performances. I hope I have everybody. Going through 6,800 names looking for ones from New Zealand, it is easy to miss one or two.

Position Payment $ 2017 NZ Swimmers Payment $
First in world 150,000
2-3 125,000
4-10 80,000
11-25 60,000 2 120,000
26-50 40,000 5 200,000
51-100 30,000 6 180,000
101-200 15,000 14 210,000
TOTAL 27 710,000

The next table details the names and performances that earned a world ranking. Some swimmers are ranked in more than one event. Their pay grade should be decided on the position of their highest ranking. Swimmers with more than one ranking are shown at the bottom of the table.

Swimmers Ranked 11-25
16 53.76 Main, Corey 24 1:59.24 Ashby, Bradlee
Swimmers Ranked 26-50
30 3:48.41 Hutchins, Matt 31 25.02 Fa’amausili, Gabrielle 36 26.45 Gasson, Helena
39 16:25.78 Robinson, Emma 49 4:42.19 Rasmussen, Mya
Swimmers Ranked 51-100
56 1:47.55 Stanley, Matthew 56 4:18.78 Clareburt, Lewis 71 22.39 Hunter, Daniel
89 2:12.80 Layton, Julian 93 1:01.21 Gichard, Bobbi 96 22.47 Perry, Sam
Swimmers Ranked 101-200
103 8:41.87 McIntosh, Hayley 103 8:41.87 McIntosh, Hayley
120 2:13.41 Schroder, George 135 55.48 Coetzee, Corneille 147 15:32.00 Mincham, Michael
162 55.69 Main, Bayley 175 1:10.04 Lloyd, Natasha 183 2:00.98 Doyle, Carina
185 17:01.98 King, Monique 187 1:10.16 Smith, Mikayla 192 32.32 Ryan, Bronagh NZL
196 15:36.82 Reid, Zac 197 55.92 Coetzee, Wilrich 198 32.33 Smith, Ciara
Swimmers Already Ranked Above
140 2:12.98 Gasson, Helena 46 2:13.14 Gasson, Helena 100 4:46.66 Gasson, Helena
68 59.18 Gasson, Helena 171 2:00.24 Clareburt, Lewis 176 2:03.06 Clareburt, Lewis
176 3:54.15 Clareburt, Lewis 33 1:58.00 Main, Corey 177 49.72 Main, Corey
114 28.89 Gichard, Bobbi 116 2:12.80 Gichard, Bobbi 61 28.47 Fa’amausili, Gabrielle
147 1:01.79 Fa’amausili, Gabrielle 184 55.89 Fa’amausili, Gabrielle 124 2:00.83 Ashby, Bradlee
167 2:00.19 Ashby, Bradlee 54 4:18.68 Ashby, Bradlee 163 25.94 Main, Bayley
182 26.02 Hunter, Daniel 151 49.62 Hunter, Daniel 96 4:12.61 Robinson, Emma
43 8:34.66 Robinson, Emma 125 49.48 Perry, Sam 103 1:48.53 Hutchins, Matt
139 15:30.68 Hutchins, Matt 35 7:56.14 Hutchins, Matt 76 3:50.85 Stanley, Matthew
193 1:02.16 Schroder, George 193 1:02.16 Schroder, George 171 8:10.14 Mincham, Michael
142 4:14.17 McIntosh, Hayley 133 16:51.72 McIntosh, Hayley 187 2:16.55 Rasmussen, Mya


Swimmers who break world or national open records should receive a “record” bonus. The table below shows the amounts that should be paid and the number of swimmers that would have received a payment in 2017. The fact that only six national open records were broken in 2017 is a sad reflection on the sport in New Zealand today. We need to do better than that. Hopefully a financial incentive will help.

You may have noticed that no payment is recommended for age group records. There are several reasons. A combination of swimmers, coaches, clubs, parents and the Federation are already pushing young swimmers too hard. There is no way a financial incentive should be added to push them even harder. Financial incentives are best kept as a goal for young swimmers to aspire to in the future; as a reward for making it through to the senior ranks. This was a policy strongly promoted by Arthur Lydiard. I agree with him.

Record Payment $ 2017 NZ Swimmers Payment $
World Long Course 10,000
World Short Course 10,000
NZ Open Long Course 5,000 2 10,000
NZ Open Short Course 5,000 4 20,000
TOTAL 6 30,000

The next table shows the names of the swimmers who set new national open records in 2017.

Open Short Course National Records
Helena Gasson Women 100m IM 01:00.61 Daniel Hunter Men 50m Free 21.52
Daniel Hunter Men 100m Free 47.30 Bronagh Ryan Women 100m Breast 1:07.91
Open Long Course National Records
Bradlee Ashby Men 200m IM 01:59.54 2017 Matthew Hutchins Men 800 Free 07:56.93

New Zealand Championship Titles

The third category of payment recommended is a comparatively modest payment for winning or placing in an open New Zealand Championship. The next table shows what each swimmer would be paid and the total cost.

Once again no payment is recommended for age group championships, for reasons that have already been discussed.

Long Course Payment $ 2017 NZ Swimmers Payment $
First Place 1000 34 34,000
Second Place 500 34 17,000
Third Place 250 34 8,500
SUB-TOTAL   102 59,500
Short Course Payment $ 2017 NZ Swimmers Payment $
First Place 1000 35 35,000
Second Place 500 35 17,500
Third Place 250 35 8,750
SUB-TOTAL   105 61,250
TOTAL   207 120,750


Based on the performance of New Zealand swimmers in 2017 the total payments made under the scheme would be as shown in the next table. As you can see only $860,750 of the $1,781,000 “swimmer’s fund” would have been spent. This reflects the poor swimming results achieved in 2017. As the swimmers improve a higher percentage of the fund will be earned. In the meantime the 2017 surplus that has not been spent should be allocated to a “swimmer’s reserve” waiting for the day when New Zealand again has four or five swimmers ranked in the world’s top ten or has a couple of world records and twenty open national records to pay for.

Category 2017 NZ Swimmers Payment $
Top 200 World Ranking 27 710,000
Records 6 30,000
National Open Championships 207 120,750
TOTAL- 240 860,750


Swimming New Zealand Bullshit

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

I will soon get back to discussing how and why New Zealand swimmers should be paid. But first I wanted to conclude the discussion, begun in the last Swimwatch post, about the lies told by Swimming New Zealand. But are they lies or are they bullshit?

There is a difference. And that difference was first discussed by the American philosopher, Harry Frankfurt. Frankfurt was a pretty serious academic. He was a professor of philosophy at Princeton University, where he taught from 1990 until 2002, and previously taught at Yale University, Rockefeller University, and Ohio State University.

In 1984 Frankfurt published an essay called “On Bullshit”. The essay discussed the difference between lying and bullshit; between a liar and a bullshitter.

Frankfurt concludes that bullshit is speech intended to persuade, without regard for truth. The liar cares about the truth and attempts to hide it; the bullshitter doesn’t care if what they say is true or false, but rather only cares whether or not their listener is persuaded.

On many occasions, when I have read the stuff coming out of Antares Place, I have wondered, are they telling me bullshit or are they lying?

And then I listened to another American academic, Fareed Zakaria, discuss whether Donald Trump told lies or simply spread bullshit. He concluded that, at his core, Trump is a bullshit artist. An analysis of Swimming New Zealand’s behaviour suggests it too is guilty of bullshit rather than lies.

Telling a lie is an act with a sharp focus. It is designed to insert a particular falsehood at a specific point. In order to invent a lie the teller of the lie must know what is true.

Bullshit on the other hand is told by someone who is neither on the side of truth nor on the side of lies. The facts just don’t matter. Bullshit is less a matter of craft than of art, hence the term, the bullshit artist.

Swimming New Zealand bullshit all the time. They boast and boast and boast, much of it a concoction of hyperbole and falsehood. And when they are found out they are like a drunk at the bar who when confronted with the truth responds by denying the original comment or says, “Of course I knew that”

For example take the four items of bullshit mentioned in our last post. Swimming New Zealand told us that “An astonishing 49 New Zealand swimming records were broken between July 2016 – June 2017.” Swimming New Zealand knew that wasn’t an “astonishing” result. They knew it was the sport’s worst year, probably ever. Their Annual Report tells the world exactly how many records have been broken. Whether “astonishing” was true or not didn’t matter. Swimming New Zealand just said it in the hope that members would be conned. That makes it bullshit.

And then Swimming New Zealand told us that, “The announcement comes following the growth of participating swimmers entering both championships every year.” Swimming New Zealand know the number of swimmers that enter the championships. Their computer will have all that information. But the truth or lies simply do not matter. As long as the membership is conned, as long as Aon’s money is safely in the bank all will be well. That makes it bullshit.

And then Swimming New Zealand announced a new policy direction; a “revised HP strategy”. But Johns and Francis knew the truth was that “Mat Woofe will continue to coach the squad that currently swims out of that centre.” They just said it was a new direction with little regard for the truth. Irrespective of the truth if they could convince the membership that Swimming New Zealand was heading off in a bold new course all would be well. That makes it bullshit.

And finally Swimming New Zealand appears to have sat, for over a week, on the news that Gabrielle Fa’amausili had pulled out of the Commonwealth Games. Hiding something like that can be just as deceptive as not telling the truth. Why were they hiding the truth? What were they up to during the week of silence? We do not know. And that makes it bullshit.

In the month of February alone these four examples are all bullshit. Liars are acutely aware of the facts and the truth. Bullshit artists however have lost all connection with reality. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies. We see the consequences. As the crazy talk continues standard rules of fact, truth and reality disappear. For this reason the Facebook criticism of Chelle Pratt, “Why always focus on the negative” is ridiculous. Bullshit artists rely on the gullible to spread their poison. It would do the members of Swimming New Zealand well to demand the organization clean up its act.

Because right now Swimming New Zealand has piled up such vast quantities of its trademark product that the stench is overwhelming and unbearable.

Truth Matters

Monday, February 26th, 2018

 I ended the last Swimwatch post by saying this post would discuss how swimmers should be financially rewarded. Well that will have to wait. Something more important has occurred that deserves consideration first.

There appears to be a slide into dishonesty at Swimming New Zealand. Examples discussed in Swimwatch include:

The 2017 Annual Report headline that announced:

“An astonishing 49 New Zealand swimming records were broken between July 2016 – June 2017, including six open records and forty three age group records.”

The truth is that result is not astonishing at all. Researching the records as far back as I can reveals that 49 records is the worst year in recent New Zealand swimming history. Swimming New Zealand has padded their resume with fake news. And the problem when you do that is getting caught makes the organisation look worse than if had told the truth. The one thing worse than bad news is lying about it.

Then on 22 February Swimming New Zealand announced a new sponsorship deal with the following claim:

“The announcement comes following the growth of participating swimmers entering both championships every year.”

We have already pointed out that this was not true. It is a lie. The following table tells what actually happened to New Zealand’s championship entries.

Entries 2012 2017 No. Drop % Drop
Number 997 767 230 23%

Once again Swimming New Zealand lied. Once again they got caught. Once again they end up looking worse than if they had told the truth in the first place.

On the 9 February Swimming New Zealand sent out an email introducing the new Targeted Athlete and Coach Manager. This was announced as a “new beginning” or as the email put it a “revised HP strategy that includes the ‘Targeted Athlete and Coach’ programme”.

And it was never that at all. Because hidden in the same email was this sentence.

“Mat Woofe will continue to coach the squad that currently swims out of that centre.”

The truth is we were being conned into believing Swimming New Zealand was striking out with a new decentralized, club focused program when in fact all the old structures that had caused ruin in the past were being preserved. It was and is extraordinarily dishonest. And worse, it won’t work.

On 16 February I was told that Gabrielle Fa’amausili had pulled out of the Commonwealth Games in order to have a knee operation. I did not say anything on Swimwatch because the news might not have been accurate. I did ask a couple of contacts if they could confirm the rumour. One of them replied that he had tried to call Swimming New Zealand but, “Nobody has returned my calls.”

Finally on the 23 February Swimming New Zealand came clean and announced that Gabrielle Fa’amausili has a problem knee and will be withdrawing from the team. The question is, why did Swimming New Zealand sit on that news for more than a week? Why did they keep the news secret? What were they doing in that time?

Were they trying to convince Gabrielle Fa’amausili to stay in the team against the best interests of her long term health? Were they hiding her departure from the NZ Olympic Committee? Were they negotiating her withdrawal with the NZ Olympic Committee in order that her place could be taken by Lewis Clareburt rather than made available to someone, possibly more deserving, from another sport? That last option is what I think was happening. The coincidental timing certainly points in that direction.

Your average club coach would never be allowed to enter swimmers in the local chocolate fish carnival the way Swimming New Zealand enters swimmers in the Commonwealth Games. They have no shame. Entering unqualified swimmers, using relays to enter individual events – Swimming New Zealand do it all.

So many of Swimming New Zealand’s actions smack of, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we plot to deceive.” The real problem that seems to characterise organizations in trouble is the effort they go to cover their difficulties. And as the problems get worse, lies are used to cover previous lies in an ever descending spiral. You see it all the time.

You see it on the world stage where the Trump administration are piling lie upon lie to cover their tracks. As the Mueller investigation gets closer and closer to the President the cover up memos and speeches get increasingly shrill and desperate.

On a smaller stage, for years, the behaviour of the team doctor in the USA Gymnastics case caused its own network of cover-up lies before the dam burst and the full extent of the dishonesty was revealed.

And there is growing evidence that, as the performance of Swimming New Zealand continues to slide, we are seeing the same cover up here. It began with the decision to hide Board Meeting Minutes and has accelerated from there. We are now hitting on a lie a week.

In my opinion, Cotterill runs a secretive “Antares Place behind closed doors” administration. There is a culture of secrecy and deception. My bet is Swimming New Zealand will be no more successful than the Trump organization or a US gymnastics doctor. Eventually the dam will burst here too. It always does. And when it does, swimming will be in a better place. Free of lies and half-truths, swimming will be revived by the introduction of fresh air.

Try This For An Idea

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

The last Swimwatch post highlighted the shameful fact that less than 10% of Swimming New Zealand’s income gets spent on swimmers. Bureaucrats in Antares Place pay themselves handsomely and build an ever bigger empire; an empire that sucks all the available money into Cotterill’s swamp.

The post argued that the money paid to swimmers should increase from 9% to 51%. What this means is that the current spending, provided to swimmers, of $343,274 needs to increase to $1,794,000 to meet the 51% target. Impossible I hear you say. But not at all. Here is how it could be done.

In recent years Cotterill has managed the business by pursuing the socialist doctrine of centralising every activity possible. Training, collecting membership fees, entering meets, learn to swim education and reporting results are just a few of the activities Cotterill’s empire has taken over. That process should be reversed. Many private enterprise operators would love to perform those functions. And private enterprise does them better. For example “Take Your Marks” does a super job of reporting results. There is no call for Swimming New Zealand to repeat that function. Swimming New Zealand should contract out as many functions as possible to private enterprise operators and apply the money saved to paying swimmers.

The table below is one idea of how that could be done. The first two columns show the current allocation of money by each category reported in the Swimming New Zealand Annual Accounts. The second two columns show the allocation of money if the organisation was restructured. A commentary below the table explains the changes.

Current Allocation Proposed Allocation
Business Swimmer Business Swimmer
Accountancy Fees 561 0 1000 0
Administration 548751 0 360000 190000
Audit Fees 13,225 13225 0 10000 3000
Consultation / Communication / Marketing 22017 0 0 22000
Depreciation 50720 0 50000 0
Events 709554 0 710000 0
Education 589133 0 0 590000
Governance 22746 0 11000 11000
High Performance Athlete / Coach Support 215126 215126 0 430000
High Performance International Team 483672 0 485000 0
High Performance Programmes / Other 380502 0 45000 335000
Legal Expenses 2400 0 2000 0
Loss on Disposal of Fixed Assets 11079 0 0 0
Awards Function 27180 0 0 27000
Motor Vehicle Lease 24197 0 0 25000
PEGS / PM Scholarship Expenses 0 128148 0 128000
Rent Expense 73609 0 51000 20000
Rewards Incentive Scheme 0 0 0 0
Total Expenses 3174472 343274 1725000 1781000
Percentages 90.3% 9.7% 49% 51%

Accountancy Fees:

The amount is small at $1000 and has been left as a business expense.


Because the functions performed by Swimming New Zealand are being contracted out to private operators the organisation will require far less staff and the staff retained will not be paid at the current level.

A staff cost of $350,000 and a saving of $200,000 has been shown in the proposed allocation. The new cost of $350,000 has been calculated as shown in the table below.

Position Comment Amount
Accounts Clerk Replaces Finance Manager 50,000
Secretary Replaces High Performance Operations Coordinator 30,000
Events Manager Pay Reduction 50,000
Chief Executive Officer Pay Reduction 100,000
Targeted Athlete & Coach Mgr. New position 100,000
Total Staff Costs   330,000

In addition to the direct staff costs, an additional $30,000 has been included to cover office costs and additional employment costs such as Kiwi Saver, ACC and the like. The positions of Head of Participation, Database & Administration Coordinator, Communications & Digital Coordinator, High Performance Logistics and Operations Manager and High Performance Coach Intern would no longer be required and would be made redundant.


A smaller Swimming New Zealand business should mean a smaller audit fee. We have shown a saving of $3,000 which has been allocated to the amount paid to the swimmers.

Consultation / Communication / Marketing:

Far too much money is spent on these trappings – for no benefit to the members. Certainly what has been spent has done nothing to improve the Swimming New Zealand corporate image. The spending has not worked and has been reallocated entirely to the funding of swimmers. The best form of marketing is to win a few swimming races and that is where the resources should be applied.


The depreciation charge would not change and has been allocated in full to the cost of the business.


Swimming New Zealand should continue to support the various National Championships. The current cost of $710,000 has been allocated as a cost of running the business. However Swimming New Zealand should do a better job of allocating the management of each championship to the Regions and should expect the Regions to meet many of the associated costs. The Regions should also collect and keep much of the income generated by these events. As far as possible everything to do with running the events should be contracted out to the Regions or to private event management companies.


The Moller Report recommended Swimming New Zealand get out of this activity. However it is the one recommendation that Cotterill has resisted, probably because it does not suit his socialist agenda. The whole Education sector should be sold or closed down. The money saved should be reallocated to the funds paid to swimmers. The ten staff involved should be transferred with the sale of the business or made redundant.


The business is very much smaller and will require less Board input. The cost of meetings should be halved. The saving has been reallocated to the funds paid to swimmers.

High Performance Athlete / Coach Support:

The high performance centralised training group and the Coaching Intern should be taken over by one of the Auckland clubs. North Shore would be the obvious choice. However there may be merit in encouraging competition by allowing Coast or United to take over this squad and the space it currently uses.

High Performance International Team:

I imagine this involves the costs associated with sending teams to various events. In the plan the full amount of $710,000 has continued to be allocated as a cost of the business.

High Performance Programmes / Other:

I am unsure what “other” includes. For this reason I have subjectively allocated $45,000 to the business and have assigned the balance of $335,000 to the funds paid to swimmers.

Legal Expenses:

After a few years of ridiculously high legal costs Cotterill has, at last, brought these under control. The current cost of $2,000 has been kept as a cost of the business.

Loss on Disposal of Fixed Assets:

No amount has been allocated to this cost item.  

Awards Function:

This is an unnecessary junket. Once again – if there is a market for the event, contract it out to a commercial operator. If no one wants it; if it has no commercial value, then stop the farce altogether. Its existence certainly does not accrue $27,000 of value to Swimming New Zealand. The money would be better spent elsewhere.

Motor Vehicle Lease:

Swimming New Zealand’s love of Mazda SUVs has, I am pleased to report, finally begun to wane. Their car park used to look like the central office of North Harbour Mazda. However $25,000 on motor cars is still far too much. No one in this business should have a company car. All leases should be terminated and the money allocated to the swimmer’s fund.

PEGS / PM Scholarship Expenses:

This is a swimmer’s payment and has continued to be treated in the same manner.

Rent Expense:

The business will now be smaller and will therefore require much less office space. It should be possible to negotiate a reduction of $20,000 on the current cost of $73,000. The savings have been allocated to the swimmer’s fund.

Rewards Incentive Scheme:

No money is budgeted for this category. This cost will be taken up and paid for from the distribution of funds from the money allocated to the swimmers.

Total Expenses:

So there we have it, $1,725,000 required to run the business and $1,781,000 reallocated to the swimmer’s fund – available to be paid to individual swimmers. That is an allocation of 49 / 51; an allocation that, at last, does mean the swimmer comes first.

So that’s how the money could be found. Tomorrow’s post will discuss how it should be spent.

Nothing To Lose But Your Chains

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

For several years various world swimming organizations have been pressing FINA to reform its governing practices. The leading voice of the reform movement has been Craig Lord through his website Their cause is a good one. In industrial terms many FINA practices reflect the same thinking that once had children working in coal mines and made trade union membership illegal.

Twenty two years ago Craig Lord first wrote about the need for reform in the sport of swimming in a story about the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Here is what he said.

“In 1973, Nikola Pilic, the best Yugoslavian tennis player of his time, was banned by his federation because instead of playing for the national team for free, he participated in a Canadian prize money competition. When the organizers of Wimbledon told Pilic that because of his sanction he couldn’t compete, he was furious.

Tennis was on its rise at this time: businessmen, agents, and broadcasters were all waiting to come in for their cut of the big money that the players could make with their performances. The athletes knew that they had to be prepared for this change, so a year earlier they established ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals). Pilic told the president of the players association about his ban, who then convinced almost all of the 50 top tennis players to sign a petition which said, If he won’t play, we won’t either.”

“The international federation, the media and the public laughed at the athletes for their weak attempt unify and everyone was sure that when the biggest tournament was about to start the athletes will change their mind. On the day of the draw, out of all the biggest stars, there was only one English and four East-European players set to compete. (The English player was there for patriotic reasons and the other four players because of their communist country’s pressure.) The other 81 players left united. And what was the result? The most awkward sporting event of all time, where the 300,000 fans could watch amateur third class players compete. It became clear, even the biggest, most prestigious event is worthless without the best athletes.”

I have stayed away from commenting on the need for reform at FINA. I don’t know enough about what goes on in the halls of power in Switzerland. I also know that Craig Lord is leading a cause that is not going to benefit by having me wade into a subject of which I know very little. Having said that, and without reservation, Craig Lord and the others involved in trying to provide world swimming with a more responsive, athlete centered form of government have my full support.

When it comes to reform I have focused instead on domestic, New Zealand issues. To a very large extent the problems associated with the governance of swimming in New Zealand reflect what is happening at the top. Swimming New Zealand is a miniature FINA. Many of the old fashioned, unprofessional practices that characterize the worst of “amateur” sport continue unchecked in New Zealand swimming. Most of what Craig Lord objects to on a global stage he would recognize and tear his hair out over in New Zealand’s very much smaller arena.

But the key quality that separates professional sport from the way FINA and Swimming New Zealand are managed is the concept of “athlete centered”. Professional sports recognize and respect the importance of their players. In my opinion Steve Johns and Bruce Cotterill respect only themselves. Let me give you an example. The American National Basketball League has to give more than half of the yearly Basketball Related Income to the athletes; exactly 51% goes to the athletes as salary. Craig Lord and others have highlighted the fact that swimmers receive less than 5% of FINA’s cash pile in prize money each year while professional sports spend more than half of their money on athletes – and not themselves.

I wonder what Swimming New Zealand spends on athlete wages. Is it closer to the NBA’s 51% or FINA’s 5%? Well here is a table that provides you with the answer.

2017 2016
Business Swimmer Business Swimmer
Accountancy Fees 561 0 1310 0
Administration 548751 0 574442 0
Audit Fees 13,225 13225 0 15075 0
Consultation / Communication / Marketing 22017 0 27302 0
Depreciation 50720 0 48262 0
Events 709554 0 626591 0
Education 589133 0 569071 0
Governance 22746 0 23258 0
High Performance Athlete / Coach Support 215126 215126 219246 219246
High Performance International Team 483672 0 656587 0
High Performance Programmes / Other 380502 0 585694 0
Legal Expenses 2400 0 33428 0
Loss on Disposal of Fixed Assets 11079 0 5030 0
Awards Function 27180 0 24356 0
Motor Vehicle Lease 24197 0 30983 0
PEGS / PM Scholarship Expenses 0 128148 0 124430
Rent Expense 73609 0 80316 0
Rewards Incentive Scheme 0 0 0 8000
Total Expenses  3174472 343274 3520951 351676
Percentages 90.3 9.7 90.9 9.1

What I have done is take each Swimming New Zealand expense item for 2017 and 2016 and allocate the cost to either the business or to the athlete. Money to the athlete does not include money spent on the athlete. Money to the athlete means actual cash in their hands. Money they can go into town with and buy a car or a pizza. As you can see I have assumed that half of the category called “High Performance Athlete / Coach Support” will be money paid directly to the athlete. I also have little doubt that this is being far too generous on Johns and Cotterill. I don’t think for a second New Zealand’s swimmers were paid $343,274 last year. But let’s be generous – let’s assume that is the figure.

If it is, it means that Swimming New Zealand is paying 9% of its expenses to the athlete; better than the FINA 5% but is still a million miles away from the NBA 51%. The figures tell the story. Swimming New Zealand is 91% about Steve Johns and Bruce Cotterill and 9% about Hunter and Boyle and Mains.

Or to make the same selfishness point another way – according to Swimming New Zealand all 5,660 competitive swimmers in New Zealand deserved to receive a total of $343,274. Just look how remarkably similar that amount is to the sum that was paid to just two employees at Antares Place, $311,000.

Now try and tell me that the organisation cares as much about the swimmers as it does about itself.